Chinese cellist to attempt Bach's cello suites this weekend

Chinese cellist Wang Jian will attempt all of Bach's six cello suites again this weekend at Shanghai Grand Theater.
Ti Gong

Chinese cellist Wang Jian will attempt all of Bach’s six cello suites again this weekend at Shanghai Grand Theater, five years after his last performance was well received in Shanghai.

Audiences will hear Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1,” “No. 5” and “No. 3” on January 12, and his “Cello Suite No. 4,” “No. 2” and “No. 6” on January 13.

Bach’s works are usually challenging for string instruments as they often involve complicated harmonies, rhythm and multiple sound parts, according to Wang. 

“Most of the symphonies are like fictions filled with many emotions and plots, but Bach’s suites are more like the ‘Three Character Classic,’ simple but enlightening,” Wang said. “They left much space for interpretation, as long as you have the capability to imagine and explore with the frame provided.”

Wang first tried Bach’s cello suites at 10. Regardless of his limited understanding of the work, he loved it.

“It is just like a child’s first taste of an ice cream. He may not be able to tell its taste, but he feels good about it,” said Wang.

Music is never a technique, but a tool through which hearts communicate, he added. 

“I knew that my facial expression never looked good when I played, but I could not help it as I tried to enter that particular world,” Wang said. Life experience certainly helps a musician to understand a master’s work better, but it does not have to always be his own personal experience, according to Wang.

“Sensitivity is a most important quality for musicians, helping him to feel emotions even from others’ life experiences, and express them through music,” he added. 

Performance details

Date: 7:15pm, January 12-13
Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater
Address: 300 People’s Ave
Tickets: 80-880 yuan
Tel: 6386-8686

Ti Gong
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